photo 1556740714 a8395b3bf30f
Sydney-based VC fund AirTree Ventures has closed its fourth and largest fund to date with $275 million in capital commitments. AirTree joins other tech-focused VCs including SMS Capital, Graftech Capital, Asia Australia Venture and Accel Partners as a portfolio company to Redpoint Ventures and Focus Ventures.
The AirTree funds have grown in size since it began investing in 2008, backing an impressive roster of local tech companies. AirTree Ventures Australia Pty Ltd and AirTree Ventures Europe Pty Ltd are currently responsible for a total of $650 million in assets.
The firm focuses on investment opportunities in three areas: SaaS, AI and fintech. This represents the new value chain for Australia’s tech sector, after the wave of large hardware companies like Apple, RedHat and ASOS attracted previous funders to the country.
The local SaaS space has a handful of unicorns with Atlassian ($2.4 billion), Atlassian Australia ($2.1 billion), Atlassian Europe ($658 million) and Atlassian (Core) ($414 million). These are all large value so close to Redpoint and Accel’s current portfolio, whether through a tie-up or target investment.
“This is a truly global fund, whether that is in terms of our limited partners, end-user entrepreneurs or other VCs,” said AirTree Managing Partner Ron McKee. “Our funds are attracting global marquee limited partners and the entrepreneurs that come to us are from all over the world, not just Australia.”
Looking at their investments, AirTree noted that both fintech and AI have shown clear growth potential in the Aussie market, with business process management and CRM as the leading industries for SaaS in the “very early stages of adoption”.
They also highlighted a number of potentially world-changing technologies in AI and autonomous driving:
Retail Any idea of why Bill Gates, who has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth, is investing in a nation-sized AI and autonomous driving company so far this year?
Social, Enterprise and Collaboration AirTree noted “the ability of social technology to positively influence people, communities and society at large.” Examples include: C3P2 & Aye collaboration platforms, Nurture Unity Chat, Paylessesam Meets Kickstarter, Sagox and daily employee check-in firm Hyperlocal AD.
Qualitive, Innovative and Mobile
Innovative companies in this area include: Accolade, Isentia, Aspire Health, Wireless X, Modify and Terminal Voltage.
Qualitive is typically mentioned in the same breath as other hot companies such as Atlassian or Gumi or Uber in particular. It’s highlighted by TechCrunch’s “5 Company YZG You Need to Know” at the start of the year, and Autopilot.com also being listed as one of their smart future investments.